By Emily Willis
Before you head out this weekend, check out the N.C. Air Quality Forecast Center to see how the wildfires across the region are affecting the air quality. As of Wednesday, the High Country is Code Orange, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children, the elderly and those with heart and lung disease, including asthma. Limiting prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors is advised. Each day, the forecast for the following day are updated at 3 p.m.For more information, click to https://xapps.ncdenr.org/aq
Join Blowing Rock this holiday season for a variety of fun activities to get you into the Christmas spirit. Beginning right after Thanksgiving, the Blowing Rock community will be ready to roll out the Christmas cheer! Read on to learn more about these special opportunities to celebrate Christmas this year.
Christmas in the Park & The Lighting of the Town, Nov. 25, 2 – 8 p.m.
Blowing Rock’s Christmas in the Park & Lighting of the Town celebration is an annual holiday event that you are sure to love. Come out and enjoy free hot chocolate, caroling, and visits with Santa! The festival is always the Friday after Thanksgiving, and is the perfect time to kick off your holiday and Christmas celebrating. Bring the whole family or enjoy the twinkling town, all dressed for Christmas, with a special someone.
Here’s the full schedule for Friday, Nov. 25:
- Games & Crafts at the Rec Center: 2-4 p.m.
- Meet Santa in the Rotary Gazebo: 2-4 p.m.
- Hayrides, start by the Martin House: 2-7 p.m.
- Bounce Houses in the Park: 2-5:30 p.m.
- Live Music by New Covenant: 3-4:30 p.m.
- Live Music by Sound Counsel Barber Shop Quartet: 5-7 p.m.
- Lighting of the Town Tree and Park: 5:45 p.m.
Free hot chocolate and cider is available from 4 – 7 p.m. All events take place in Memorial Park, right on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock. There will be more lights than ever this year, so don’t miss out! Free parking is available on Maple Street and on the parking decks by the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum and the American Legion, both on Wallingford Street. All three public lots are just one block from Main Street.
Carriage rides and more at Chetola Resort, Nov. 25 & 26, 5 p.m.
On Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26, experience the old-fashioned thrill of a horse-drawn carriage ride around the lake. In addition, kids can enjoy free visits with Santa and free cookie decorating! There is a delicious buffet to enjoy, as well as cookies and hot drinks.
No pre-reservations are taken for the carriage rides; sign-up for each night’s rides before 5 pm in Timbers Room on each respective day! Get more information on scheduling of all these events and pricing for carriage rides at www.Chetola.com.
Christmas Parade, Nov. 26, 2 p.m.
The Christmas Parade on Main Street is a holiday tradition. It’s filled to the brim with holiday cheer and Christmas spirit with fun costumes, floats, animals, and more! The parade will wind its way down Main Street from U.S. 221 to the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.For more information, contact Blowing Rock Parks & Recreation at 828-295-5222.
Wood-fired Kiln Opening, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.
Bolick Pottery and Traditions Pottery will host its annual Thanksgiving kiln opening beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, in the Blackberry community, just south of Blowing Rock. The wood-fired kiln will be emptied and all of its wares, including Santa and other face jugs, will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is free and includes craft demonstrations, live music, and traditional Appalachian food and drink! For more information, call Traditions Pottery at (828) 295-6128.
Holiday Open House, Nov. 26, 3 – 5 p.m.
Visit the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) after the Blowing Rock Christmas Parade for free admission, light refreshments, art activities for kids, and live music by the Watauga High School Orchestra. The Holiday Open House will feature music, kids’ crafts, and cookies! The event is free and open to the public.
Festival of Lights at Chetola Resort, Nov. 25 – Jan. 29
Chetola Resort features a sparkling display of lights each winter season! The Festival of Lights is free and open to the public. As you drive or stroll around Chetola Lake, view glittering ice skaters, “Rudolph” reeling in a big fish, strolling carolers and many more captivating holiday scenes. The Festival of Lights begins Thanksgiving weekend on Friday, Nov. 25 and remains up through Blowing Rock WinterFest till Sunday, Jan. 29. The displays illuminate at dusk each evening!
Festival of Trees at Chetola Resort, Dec. 1-4
Join Chetola Resort in celebration of their 2nd annual Festival of Trees holiday event this year! The festival begins on Dec. 1 and runs through Dec. 4. The Festival of Trees will showcase 75 uniquely themed Christmas trees and wreaths, which will be available for bids during the four-day event. All proceeds benefit the Western Youth Network (WYN) and admission to the events are by donation.
The schedule for the four-day holiday event is:
- Thursday, Dec. 1: The festival kicks off with the ‘First Look’ Reception at 5 p.m., which is a VIP event featuring light appetizers, one complimentary beverage and a cash bar. Tickets sold by WYN. Also, at 6 p.m., there will be a Young Professional’s Holiday Social, where the “40 & Under” professional crowd of the High Country gathers for appetizers and cash bar.
- Friday, Dec. 2: Beginning at noon, come out at take a closer look at the 75 Christmas-themed trees and wreaths! These will be available for auction, online auction, and a simple buy it now feature!
- Saturday, Dec. 3: The doors open at 10 a.m. for a chance to see the Festival of Trees. Bring your little ones out to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy from 2-4 p.m.! Free candy canes and hugs, also snag a picture with the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy a this exciting event! Also, kids eat free at Timberlake’s from 5-9 p.m. Children ages 10 and younger receive one free meal off the children’s menu per the purchase of one adult entree.
- Sunday, Dec. 4: The doors will open, again, at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for the final chance to see the second annual Festival of Trees.
Any donation is appreciated in place of admission. This event also features gift baskets and raffle items, as well as a packed calendar of special events for extra holiday cheer. See Chetola Resort’s website for all the details!
Holiday Cocktail Party, Dec. 1, 3 – 6 p.m.
The Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge will host a fundraising holiday cocktail party and shopping bazaar at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1. Tickets are $30 per person and include heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert and a glass of wine. RSVP by visiting info@womensfundoftheb
Chamber Christmas Party, Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m.
The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas party will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, at Bistro Roca. The party is open to all chamber members and their guests and is $28 per person. The event will feature dinner, live music and a cash bar. To RSVP, call the chamber at (828) 295-7851.
Holiday Stroll in Blowing Rock, Dec. 9, 5 – 8 p.m.
Join Blowing Rock for the Holiday Stroll, a celebration of winter and the Christmas season in December. It’s like a town-wide holiday open house! On Friday, December 9 from 5 to 8 p.m., local businesses and organizations present an evening of fun surrounded by the twinkling lights of the season.
- Carolina Snow Belles– Two dance performances at the South Marke shops!
- Movie in the Courtyard- Hot chocolate, outdoor movie, corn hole, and more at Blue Ridge Mountain Club by the Martin House.
- Christmas Concert in the Gazebo– Watauga Community Band performs in Memorial Park.
- Strolling Carolers– Enjoy impromptu sing-along sessions with wandering carolers.
- Holiday Shopping– shop our stores for specials and treats. The shops listed below are participating with sales and featured offers, plus tasty snacks and nibbles! 5-8 p.m. only!
An Ensemble Christmas Show, Dec. 17 & 18, 2 p.m.
Ensemble Stage presents their highly-anticipated Christmas variety show, An Ensemble Christmas, this December! This holiday musical variety show is patterned after the Andy Williams and Bing Crosby television Christmas specials of the 60’s and 70’s with lots of singing, dancing, comedy sketches and more. It’s a great event for families, with songs you know & love and plenty of slick costumes.
The show is hosted by the High-Country’s very own, Joe Clark and features an eight person adult chorus who take you on a musical whirlwind of over 30 classic, and not so classic, songs of the season. You’ll laugh out loud, sing along, and maybe even get a little nostalgic. Don’t miss it!
The play will be at the Valborg Theater on the campus of Appalachian State University. For details and to get tickets in advance, visit www.ensemblestage.com!